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Dermatologica. 1988;177(2):126-8.

Oral hairy leukoplakia in a HIV-negative renal transplant patient: a marker for immunosuppression?

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Department of Dermatology, University of Basel, Switzerland.


We report the case of a 58-year-old renal transplant patient who developed oral hairy leukoplakia. Examination for HIV-1 and HIV-2 infection was negative. Biopsy of the lateral tongue showed ballooned prickle cells and electron microscopy revealed herpes-type viruses. In situ hybridization and examinations with the Southern blot technique yielded Epstein-Barr virus. Serology for Epstein-Barr virus was reactive. Immunological investigation of the patient showed a marked decrease of T-helper and T-suppressor cells as the result of immunosuppressive regimen. Oral hairy leukoplakia may be a marker for severe immunosuppression but is not necessarily associated with HIV infection.

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